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I’ve been waiting for this one to come for quite a while. The solo debut of Lloyd James, known for what he has done in NAEVUS for the last decade.

Rumors about this commitment found their way to me shortly after ”Silent Life” and I thought to myself that ”gotta sound like Clapton” but no no no. As RETARDER, Lloyd sets out on a very edgy and stormy voyage, full of obstacles to overcome. It’s very experimental, most of this material could possibly destroy a NAEVUS album and sometimes, it’s even more weird than that LARK BLAMES album he did together with Marc Blackie (SLEEPING PICTURES). Not two tracks sound the same but that’s just a statement I establish and, it’s neither positive nor negative, it’s just the way it is.

The intro is a long and exhausting piano improvisation with some horns hidden underneath. Could probably call it arty or something. It doesn’t sound too good, which is probably the whole idea, but it does something with you and you will feel like... Empty afterwards.

The second track has a slightly proto post-punk feeling, a simple, mechanic riff and a vocal loop is the core and I must say it sounds quite cool.

”Tongue in the Wind” takes the listener on a multi-layered ambient trip, where spacey sounds are mixed with something that resembles a theremin.

Track four is called ”Father Duncan” and it’s probably the least experimental one, actually, it could be a NAEVUS song with that strummed guitar and simple drum pattern. We’re also given some Lloyd-singing and pretty nice lyrics as usual when he’s the author. A nice track and a well deserved break between all the madness that went by and that awaits; ten seconds into the fifth track you’ll succumb to the feberish nightmare sounds, could probably go under the parole noise lite. ’Tis really lots of deranged and distorted sounds swirling around and around for about, what it feels like, half the day, and it’s a really scary track if you ask me.

”Superman’s Cave” is another ambient one and once again with lots of mysterious bleeps that sounds like something from my childhood, can’t tell what though, but it’s certainly has a nostalgic feeling.

”Modern Evening” is nice, maybe my favorite, and sounds very apocalyptic and atmospheric and we get some singing again, over slow and brooding electric guitar harmonies and strange effects, and then finally we have ”Chalk is Valuable, Keep it in Your Hand” that could as well be a tribute to CABARET VOLTAIRE and their mysterious ”Exhaust” with a deranged voice popping up at random going ”Chalk... Hand...”, after a while accompanied by some garage guitars and a monologue by Lloyd. The end.

So, that was the album I’ve been waiting for? Did it fill my expectation? Sure did. It’s awesome to hear Lloyd in such a different context than what I’m getting used to. It feels fresh and the entire album is awfully well done. It may not be the first choice for everyone and just because you fancy NAEVUS, I can’t guarantee that this will work you you. Open up all your senses and prepare for a while. Give it a shot. And then another. Personally, I think this shows that mr. James is an artist capable of doing almost anything with success.

[review by The Shadows Commence]

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